There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spiritual Anti-Virus.......

Todays post goes off of yesterday. Its a reminder of how much we have to be on our guard everyday. How many times have you been doing something on the computer only to be repeatedly interrupted by that little box in the corner of your screen saying "Warning your computer is not fully protected please renew your anti-virus software?" Over the past few days everytime I seem to get in the middle of doing something this annoying little box pops on my screen with the "Warning" sign and i grumble to myself and click close which we all know only removes it temporarily then the next thing we know its back on our screen. Although that box is very annoying and seems to always interrupt us at the most inconvienent times its put there for the protection of our computer and for things that are important to us on our computer. Sure we could ignore it and go on with our business by just clicking close but then the next thing we know our computer ends up with a virus and everything that was of importance to us is wiped out.

I started thinking about this and wondered what it would be like if we all had an anti-virus program for our spiritual lives. A little meter that kept track of how well protected we kept ourselves from the enemy and when we didnt have our full armor of God on a little box would pop up and say "Warning you arent fully protected please apply more armor." How awesome would that be??? So many times in life we get so caught up in the busyness around us that we forget to put on our armor and the next thing we know our life is in chaos and we can't seem to figure out what went wrong. The truth is that unless we make a conscious effort everyday and somedays multiple times a day to protect ourself against satan its easy to find ourselves with our guard down. Something I have learned is that satan loves when we get busy and caught up in life because in those moments even if we let our guard down just a little its that little inch that gets him in the door of our lives to cause turmoil and destruction. Satan loves for us to let our guards down because by doing that little by little he can come in and wipe us out and draw us away from God's plan for our lives, plans for good. I was thinking about some really great moments in my life and others lives and how in the middle of that greatness it seemed like there always came a huge storm. I think we get so caught up in the glory of the greatness around us we get our heads stuck in the clouds. At times, we forget we still have to suit up and put on that armor, even when things are going great the enemy is still lurking behind somewhere plotting for destruction, and its in those moments when we aren't on our toes that he seems to creep in the most.

Ephesians 6:10-17 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Although it sounds amazing to think about having a pop up screen in our lives to keep us spiritually in check and protected, the truth is that just isnt the way it is. Although we dont have pop up screens warning us, the Lord has put people in each of our lives to serve as those spiritual meters. Only God knows our hearts but those around us are put in our lives to help encourage us, and remind us to put on that armor each day. Ask yourself today have you renewed your subscription and put on your armor against the enemy waiting to attack you and wipe you out? Is there someone that you care about that you feel like they just arent putting on their armor right now and you need to set off that "warning" sign to protect them? As a friend of mine says "lets put on our spiritual armor and start swinging :)"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Catchy Tune....

When I was pregnant with Macie I remember cleaning the house listening to Chris Tomlin "Indescrible." After Macie was born I would sit on the living room floor with towels everywhere giving Macie a spongebath and playing that song. We have on video one night where Macie wasnt too happy so I tried to rock her and sing that song "Indescribeable" to calm her down. It just always seemed to comfort her. Macie has always loved music and falls asleep to music everynight. It was much easier when she was a baby though because we could put in "Mary had a Little Lamb, Hush Little Baby, Jesus Love Me" any lullaby, or praise and worship cd and she would be content.

But now Macie is 6 so instead of slipping whatever cd we like in her cd player at night, she has developed an opinion and tasete of her own. I have made the "no secular" music comittment more times than I can count, and have gone through periods where I tried listening to only uplifting music and nothing else especially when Macie was in the car. I am not condeming anyone for their taste in music but I believe through my experiences when I'm going through a difficult time and listening to a hip hop song blaring "how rich, famous and beautiful" their life is and here I am in my sweats and frazzled hair trying to budget every penny because I can't drop "G's" like the stars its depressing. I have found though that in those moments where I am struggling if I turn on worship music somehow I always feel comforted and encouraged through the words.

I'm human though and have had my "ghetto" days where I wanted to flip the channel drivng down the highway forgetting for a minute im in a mini van and not a Lexus while bopping to my walmart, not Louis Vuitton shades. My music censor has gotten better especially while Macie is in the car but there have been times where I didnt realize the words to a certain song. She may have heard them with me, with someone else, on t.v. or whatever but the message behind that catching tune can be deceiving. Many of you have probably seen the advertisements for "kidz bops" on t.v. Its the hottest dance/hip hop music on the charts currently with the words slightly altered sung by kids. I never thought much about it really and felt good about buying them for Mac, at least the words were kid friendly.

However one night I was tucking her in bed and we both were listening to the cd dancing, I wasnt sure what song was playing but it was catchy and I liked it. So after I got Mac to bed I decided to google the song and wow, talk about being hit in the face by a ton of bricks. The song was "My perfect "blanking" life." But the blanking started with a capital "F." I felt as a parent I had failed Macie. I thought I was making good decisions by buying the cd with censorship but really it was a deceptive attempt to get kids attention, through a catchy song and "kid friendly" lyircs. I wonder how often the devil uses deception each day to grab our attention. Something may look catchy, glamorous and fun but underneath the realness of it all its destructive to us and our lives. The words on "kidz bops" may be ok and changed for a good purpose but it doesnt change the fact that it still attracts Macie's attention and so when she hears the "real" song or those harmful lyrics how is she supposed to know what the real thing is or the fake. This was a huge eye opener not just as a parent but for myself becaue if I wouldnt have looked that song up it might not have hit me just by hearing it on the radio dressed in a catchy tune as it did seeing it in plain sight with no glamour and glitz surrounding it. This world is scary and Satan will use any chance he can get to creep in whether it be through music, movies, clothing, relationships, addictions or whatever and he will use it to destroy you, your family, and every part of your life.

John 10:10 (NLT) "The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy."We may not be able to differenate always between whats ok and what Satan is using to deceive us but God can. I am Macie's parent and guardian the person who watches over the best interest of her life and God is our ultimate guardian and can protect us and decipher whats the best for our lives. Each day put on the armor of God, allow Him to make it clear to you what is deceptive and harmful and whats uplifting and ok. Ephesians 16:10-13 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. If not you too may be mezmorized by deceptions catchy tune.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Macie Page Cameron!!!!

At exactly 2:13 a.m. 6 years ago we welcomed our 8lb 3oz daughter Macie Page Cameron into this crazy world. It was a tough labor and delivery but once we saw our precious baby we were instantly in love. While I was pregnant with Macie, Scott and I always talked about what she would look like hoping she had my little piggy nose, daddies bright blue eyes and smile. We had so many hopes and dreams for her before she was even here. Being parents is the hardest most amazing job I could ever have and we feel so blessed that God would pick us to be her mommy and daddy.

Life has been crazy the past 6 years with all the health struggles, surgeries, sickness and being away but through it all Macie remained strong and always went with the flow. She was tough and brave when she had to be and sensitive, loving and comforting when I needed hugs and cuddles the most. There were so many times over the past 6 years that I'm not sure I could have kept fighting through all the health stuff like I did but Macie always pushed me to keep going. Her sweet smile and loving personality inspired me to never give up no matter what. Watching Macie play with her dolls or draw me a picture brings such joy to my heart because she is always thinking of someone else and trying to do anything she can to make someone smile. She loves to play soccer, wiffleball, dance around the house and will start ballet and jazz lessons next month. She is doing very well in school and enjoys art, gym and playing with new friends on recess. Macie loves reading out of her Princess devotional book each night and acting out the stories. We love our Macie Page so much and are very excited to see what amazing things God has instore for her beautiful life. Macie, Mommy and Daddy love you with all our hearts and will always be here no matter what happens in life. WE are very proud of you for all that you do and for being such a beautiful little girl. You will always be our baby no matter what, never forget that !!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cake anyone???

So many times in life it seems success is defined through the end result, not the journey. It doesnt matter how long you have trained or prepared for a race unless you walk away with a sparkling gold medal then your efforts go unseen. I have had a few major lessons in this throughout my life but tonight I was reminded of this very thought. If you were to ask me one of my weaknesses in life I would say loud and clear "baking." I am terrible at baking, it doesnt matter if its the cooking that are pre-cut and all you have to do is drop them on the pan I still find a way to mess them up. 

Now I know I'm terrible at baking but I still would like to improve over my life and get better at it everytime I try. I'm not ok with being bad, I dont have to be great at everything but if I can do better then why not try, why stay the same and become "ok" with just being not good as something. Why not work so hard at it that maybe eventually you will no longer be bad but ok. I might never get to be as good as Cathy Waddell or some of those awesome bakers you see on t.v. but after tonight, any improvement will be a major milestone in my case :) Since Macie's Birthday is tomorrow and she has never celebrated a birthday at school tonight we decided to make "Hello Kitty" cupcakes for her to take and share with her Kindergarten class. Now cupcakes are my thing, I'm not awesome but I can handle them. Moral of the story I should have stopped with the cupcakes but no, I decided since I had some extra batter I would make a little cake for us to have at home tomorrow evening with dinner. First I chose a round pan then thought that was boring so I dug out the heart shaped one we have crammed away in the cupboard, but then a light bulb came on in my head and I thought " I can put the round pan and two cupcakes together to make the shape of a cat for "Hello Kitty" then use sprinkles and candy for the decorations. I was so excited and worked so hard to suprise Macie with this amazing "Hello Kitty" cake. I had frosting up to my elbows, sprinkles stuck to my feet and dishes piled everywhere then I was finally finished and BAM, I looked down and this is what I saw:

By far the worst "Hello Kitty" cake I have ever seen in my life. It was so bad you couldnt even tell it was a cake to be honest. In that moment I wanted to break down and cry uncontrolably because I worked so hard and was so excited to suprise Macie and then regardless of my efforts I failed. It was nauseating honestly, it was that bad. After I looked at it for a few minutes though I had to start laughing, partially because if not I was going to have a meltdown right on the kitchen floor covered in rainbow icing and sprinkles but also because I knew it was that hideous it was funny.

Sometimes when we fail in life though its not that easy to laugh it off is it?? We feel like we did everything we could and put so much effort forward even if we knew it wasnt our strongest point in life we still tried and to fail its a hard pill to swallow. I remember back in College I took a Youth Leader position. At the time I was super young, a Junion at MVNU, it was my first real job let alone church job and I gave it everything I had. When I resigned from my position a year later I felt like a failure and it took me years to get over that. I felt like I was never good enough and hadnt become what they expected of me. I had to come to a point though where I realized all the good things that happened throughout my time in that position and although man may not have seen my efforts as success I was there for exactly what God wanted me to do and I felt confident I did just that so I was successful. If I were to look back at my time as the Youth Leader now I am proud at all that was accomplished. I tried hard and did all that i could with what I knew and I think thats all God expected from me.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (AMP) "With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness). There will be many times in life where you will work and prepare so hard for a journey and not get the prize at the end but don't allow that to define your success. I made a terrible, trashy worthy cake but it made Macie smile and I tried. I knew before I started, it probably wasnt going to be a prize cake but I went ahead and tried anyways. Its not about always winning but about being willing to keep trying and put in the effort regardless of how short you may fall or how unsuccessful others may see you as. Philippians 3:13-14 "Reaching forward to those things which are ahead, straining toward what is ahead I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I will fear no evil.....

As humans we face so many different emotions brought on by our circumstances in life. Like a chameleon ever changing one minute we are a bright shade of happy yellow and the next a gloomy shade of black. Life isnt constant therefore neither are our emotions. We all know this because this concept is something we all experience each and everyday in our lives. One emotion that I feel as humans we can allow to creep in and have control over our lives is fear. Fear is defined as a feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.

Whether this danger is for physical harm, emotional harm, spiritual harm, marital harm, financial harm or whatever it is we have all been there. Life allows that anxious thought is planted inside our heads until it consumes us and seeps out through our pores until Satan gets a whiff and like an animal sniffing out his dinner Satan smells that fear and devours us. Fear is a natural human emotion that we can't control but the amount of imprisonment we allow that fear to hold over our lives in something we can control. Satan is like a wild animal who feeds off our fear, he smells the fear in us and plots against us in a way that we allow that fear to consume us so deeply we forget to trust God with those circumstanes that are causing us anxiety. In the midst of our fear satan will try to only highlight the negative so that we see the only outcome as being something bad. Satan wants us to believe we will never get through that circumstance, he wants to turn our fear into defeat. Satan wants us to be a prisoner chained to our circumstances as he stands guard and scoffs.

The great news is that although we are human and will have times of fear for whats ahead God is so much bigger than our circumstances and emotions. God created each and every one of us and as He was forming us so intricately He also decided that we would have emotions and that those emotions would make us who we are. So if God created us and our emotions then why dont we ever stop and think that maybe we should hand those fears over to Him??? Isaiah 43:12 But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,he who formed you, O Israel:"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you" There is a song that says "I will fear no evil for my God is with me, and if my God is with me whom then shall I fear, whom then shall I fear."

Isaiah 41: 10,13 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, "Fear not, I am the one who helps you."

How amazing that even in the midst of our fears the Lord is still with us!! He still loves us and wants to hold us in His arms and rock us back and forth until we feel safe and not anxious or agitated until that presence of danger we feel has gone. Dont allow fear of the unknown to control your life, dont allow Satan to hold you prisoner to the unseen but instead when those thoughts of fear start too creep in ask God to crush them and to place within you a hope that everything is going to work out exactly as planned. When those fears of losing your job start to creep in CRUSH THEM, when those fears that you aren't good enough and wont get into the school you want CRUSH THEM, when those fears that you will never be healed of an illness come in CRUSH THEM, when those fears that you will never get over the pain of your past come in CRUSH THEM!!!!! Allow God to CRUSH those frears regardless of how big or small they may seem He cares. Don't allow Satan to steal one ounce of your joy by causing fear to control your life. Is there something in your life right now that is causing you great fear??? Are you allowing God to handle the matter or are you being held captive to that fear??? Give it over to the Lord today and dont allow satan to have another second of your joy!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Truely Broken.....

When I started writing these a few years ago I told myself it wasnt about sounding like I knew deep theological knowledge, or all the twists and turns of being a Christian but my desire was to be real, raw and broken before anyone that wanted to read and to represent to thewhat it means to truely be human placed in the hands of Jesus everyday in this crazy thing we call "life." to help others to not ever feel alone or inadequate to be loved by Jesus because I am the worst of sinners and Christ died for me just as He has for you.

In the process I have had many ups and many downs over the past year that I have tried to share as honestly and insightfully as possible and I have had the privilege of getting feedback and hearing the thoughts and feelings of those around me who have been in similar circumstances. Its been a process for me and I hope for others also, a process where we could grow and learn together. When I decided to start this blog a few weeks ago I was nervous and thought eventually I would run out of words and I could never measure up. Well its been 17 days now and I can tell you although I feel incredibly inadequate I am not giving up and I am not throwing in the towel. I may start posting later in the day or missing a day here and there but I refuse to allow Satan to try and get in the way of what the Lord wants to say and do through me.

I am saying all this because this week has been a challenge!!! Not only for me but for my husband and our family. I made the decision and started the process a few weeks ago to try and take some classes in the spring to finish my Bachelors degree and persue Womens Ministry someday and it seems since I said yes to God and what I felt He was declaring for my life Satan has loaded up his guns and launched missile after missile our way to try and do anything he could to make us buckle. Frustrated and tired we have continued to fight but are exhausted and  tonight it hit me that Satan is going to continue to attack us because he knows the Lord is in charge in our lives and has big things ahead. He feels threatened and weakened at the sound of Jesus name and will do anything, regardless of how low the blows may seem Satan fights dirty and will not stop at anything to destroy our dreams and the plans God has for our lives.

Whatever we do daily to try and glorify the Lord, however insignificant they may seem to us they are big to God and He can use the smallest of all situations for extraordinary tasks in His kingdom. It was a head to head moment tonight where I honestly just said "ok Satan listen up, I am not now nor will I ever regardless of whatever is ahead give up, you can back off and get out of the way because I'm not throwing in the towel." Satan knows when we are wavering and when we are unsure and unconfident but when we come to a point where we make a decision and we proclaim that we are standing for Christ and for the plans that He has for our lives Satan has to back off a little. When we declare that Jesus has victory over our lives, every aspect, every decision, every hope, and every dream, Satan has to flee!

I started reading the book, Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness by Nancy Leigh Demoss and it talks in the beginning chapters about being broken and choosing Christ in the brokeness. Its not about feeling sad or hurt or experiencing some great tragedy. We dont have to walk around being unhappy because we are broken people, people associate brokenness with loss and emptiness in some area of our lives but instead its the loss of ourselves and the gain of Him, which produces a deep sense of joy and peace!!!!! "True brokenness is an ONGOING, CONSTANT, way of life. True brokenness is a LIFESTYLE-a MOMENT-BY-MOMENT lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of my heart and life-NOT as everyone else thinks it is but as He KNOWS it to be. Its about the shattering of my self-will-to absolute surrender of my will to the will of God. It is saying "Yes, Lord!" - no resistance, no chafing, no stubbornness-simply submitting myself to His direction and will in my life."

The point of all this is not some earth shattering lesson I feel like God has placed on my heart. Its me breaking open my heart before you right now not really knowing the words tonight but realizing that I am tired, I'm feeling broken but I'm feeling peace and joy because I know God is in control. I know that Satan will continue to try and throw roadblock after roadblock in our way but God is bigger and I have taken a stand today and I encourage you to do the same so Satan knows he might as well forget it. You my be weak but He will make you strong, you may stumble but you will not fall and you may be broken but He has made you whole!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Take a deep breath......

Earlier this past week Scott and I were flipping through the channels one night and he came across a move he had been wanting to see so we started watching it. I can't remember the name of the movie now and we ended up turning it after about half way through because it got pretty gross and weird but the story was about a group of girls who went on a trip Spelunking. Spe who?? Yes Spelunking is a real word which I had never heard of in my life but it means to go cave exploring, honestly I didnt even know they had a word for that I just thought it was called "cave exploring."

So we started watching this movie and these girls were on a journey cave exploring and it was such tight spaces. It wasnt like they were walking through caves, they were on their tummys crawling through dark, tight spaces with no extra room, litterally their arms were stuck down at their sides and they had to do the "worm" through these caves. This to me was so stressful to watch on a movie I can't even imagine what it would be like in real life. Even thinking about it now I feel a lump in my throat thinking about being so enclosed and surrounded that you literally feel trapped. Maybe its because I dont like not having control in life but they just seemed so vulnerable. There is no way you could possibly know everything that was ahead and because of the tight space there was no turning back but only moving forward. I think even if your not clastraphobic any person could easily get overhwelmed in that kind of situation, it would take so much mental control to allow yourself to remain calm and not let that feeling of being trapped overtake you.
When i was at the doctors this week he mentioned me needing an MRI and for that test you are placed in a tight tunnel like machine, your head is braced down and you have to lay there still as can be for a good 45 minutes. I'm not clastraphobic but the last time I had one there were a few minutes that literally I had to talk myself out of completely loosing control because just something about it made me panic for a few short minutes. Anyone who has ever had an MRI knows what I'm talking about. Can you think of a real situation in life that you have been in that you just felt trapped? I'm not talking about being in a closet or elevator I'm talking about being in such a tight space like the movie that you couldnt barely breath, let alone move your arms or legs.

I think we can all go through times in life where we feel like the walls are closing in around us. It just seems like things are piling on top of us and although it may not be anything major its just one thing after another and the next thing we know we feel surrounded and its hard to move and catch our breath. I have felt like this lately, not because of bad things in life its just that there seemed to be one thing after another and I came to a place where I needed some breathing room.

Maybe its because of a crazy schedule, getting the kids back to school, financial stressors, health troubles, packed weekends or whatever its easy to feel like your Spelunking in life.You can see an end in sight and know if you keep going and just get through one thing at a time and check of one commitment after another of your agenda book you will be ok eventually and be able to breath a little but in that moment you just feel overwhelmed and stuck. I think its ok for us to feel like this at times its a reminder that we can't do everything, that we are still human and we need supernatural strength from God to get through everything we need to. Whatever you are facing right now in life, maybe you are feeling tied down and panicky, commit it all to the Lord and take a deep breath. Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Allow God to free you from whatever is closing in on you and to give you a little boost to finish what needs to be done and get through all you need to get through. In the process though know that its ok to take a break from life and all the "stuff" and regroup. Spend some time in prayer and devotions and allow the Lord to rejuvenate and restore you, so you can move ahead. Matthew 11:28-29 (AMP) "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let it fade.....

Check out this video from Beth Moore its awesome and so encouraging and fits well with todays devotional.

Jeremy Camp has a song that is called "Let it Fade" and in the song the chorus says: "Let this old life crumble let it fade, let this new life offer be your saving grace." I have found these words to be so amazing and true. We often find ourselves in life in a place where we aren't sure how we got there but we did. Whether it be an addiction, a job, a relationship a financial downfall whatever it is we are stuck in this pit of despair. We have allowed that "thing" to put us in a downward spiral that seperates us from God. The hard part is we don't usually realize this until we have lost so much that we are at the the bottom of the pit and then we look back up and wonder "how in the world did i get here?"

To God its not important how we got there but that we have recognized how much we allowed that "thing" to consume us and seperate us from Him and the things that He wants to show us. To God its being ready to get out of that pit instead of living in it and allowing ourselves to be comfortable with that despair and heartache. So many times when we find ourselves in a pit by something or someone we become content there and start making that pit our beth moore puts it "we move in and start hanging up pictures on the wall and tidying up the place." We start feeling comfortable and safe even though its painful because satan wants us to feel like we need to stay awhile. Of course satan makes that pit look very appealing and safe because he knows by us staying there its more time we are seperated from God and its more time we have to isolate ourselves so he can tear us down little by little.

I have a friend that talks about a job that lead her into this pit of despair and destruction in her life. She had to go through the fire and pain to realize that she couldn't stay in that pit any longer she had to get out. That point of realizing we need out doesnt come easy though, we have to come to a point where every ounce of our being aches and hurts and we can't live another second in that pain anymore. The place where we we recognize this, is the place we we start to see freedom and a light at the end of the tunnel. The amazing thing is that this friend goes on to tell how she climbed out of that pit and has been freed by the bondage that satan had on her at one time and now she has found restoration and healing in many areas of her life.

Climbing out of the pit is never easy and we will slip and slide along the way, satan will try to tell us lies and throw our past in our face so that eventually we can't hang on anymore and then we slide back to the bottom of that yucky pit of despair. But the amazing thing is as we are trying to climb out of the pit God will take our hand and help pull us up. Psalm 40:2 "He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along." He will wisper in our ears how much He loves us and how He wants to take away our hurts and use them for beauty. The words "let this old life crumble let it fade, let this new life offer be our saving grace" is God telling us its ok to climb out of the pit....regardless of how long we have been down there or how dirty we are He still loves us and wants us to start over and be freed from whatever is keeping us in bondage. He wants to remove the chains this "thing" has on us and show us a new way.

No matter what situation you are in, regardless of what "thing" has you held captive now God can help pull you out of the pit and give you the strength to start over. There will be moments where the world and satan will try to make that old life look good and there will be moments where you find yourself inching closer and closer to the edge of that pit but in those moments God can pick you up and remind you of where that pit leads and He can direct you on a new path. I have struggled with this alot lately and have found myself looking back at that pit and remembering how painful it is but yet i still inch closer and closer to it at times. In those moments where i fail and satan starts throwing things in my face i remember that God has pulled me out of the pit and His words are "real" He defines who i am not satan....God reminds me that satan has no authority in my life anymore and that I don't have to allow that "thing" to have one more second of my doesnt deserve my time, it doesnt deserve my energy, it doesnt deserve to steal away my joy and my focus now is on Christ. God has forgiven us from whatever threw us in that pit and He promises to hold our hands and take us down a new path if we just stay with Him and never let go. This is the time right now to get out of that pit and to trust that wherever God takes us and however hard it may be we never have to be alone in that dark and dirty pit of despair again. Hebrews 13:5 "He will never leave us nor forsake us!!!!" Hold tight to His hand today and allow yourself to have freedom, allow yourself to be happy and to find joy away from that pit..its ok, Gods promises are for you regardless of where you have been or what you have done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


There's a show on the A&E channel called hoarders. When I first started watching this show I was completely amazed at how much stuff one person can actually fit in their houses. It wasnt just the mere fact of the amount of stuff those people had in their houses but the items that they had saved. There were items that were very sentimental and personal which we all have in our own homes to rotting food just laying around. As I watched this show I was deeply drawn to not the shock factor of how much stuff was in these peoples houses but the emotional baggage behind the "stuff."

I was thinking about how much in each of our lives we have a little bit of the hoarder personality in us. We find comfort in filling our lives with so much unecessary "stuff." Some of the stuff we place in our lives is positive and meaninful and help in contributing to our lives in a good way, but alot of times the stuff we place in there is negative. Some negative things that are placed in our lives are addictions, relationships, financial debt, and more. Regardless of how messy or undesirable that stuff is we keep piling and piling it in the rooms of our hearts and lives until it becomes a complete mess in there. After awhile like the show those negative things that we have put in there start rotting and eating away at our hearts and souls. However, instead of allowing God to bring in a bull dozer and empty out those rooms of all that junk we just keep piling in more and more.

There becomes a point like the show that over time after we have piled so much stuff in those rooms that we become completely blind to what we are doing and the mess that we have created. We look at all that stuff and it doesnt seem to effect us because its comfortable and we have learned to just live with all that stuff laying around and we continue to live out our lives manuvering around it. We come to a point where we see that the room is already messy so it wont matter much if we add a little more junk and the next thing we know little by little we have added so much stuff that now the place is a complete disaster. There is only so much space to put all that junk until eventually the room is busting at the seams and things start overflowing into other rooms or areas of our lives which bring us down. It begin consuming us and taking over our lives, it takes our freedom and we become a prisoner to the "stuff."

I know in my own life I have been to this point where I just kept inviting one negative thing after another into the rooms of my life until I came to a point of not even recognizing who I was or the mess that I had allowed to accumulate in my life. The awesome thing is however that God is so big and powerful that He is able to do some major spring cleaning in our hearts and lives to rid us of all that junk. The process of allowing Him to clean our hearts up isnt always easy though. In fact its painful and not fun at all. We have lived for so long in the mess that its scary to have it all removed and look at all that empty space and try to figure out what to do with it. After things are cleaned out we find ourselves in a predicament of either picking back up that old dirty stuff and placing it right back in the room or we can go out and search for new clean stuff to put in the room that will lift us up and encourage us.

It took the Lords hand in my life to wake me up and see that I needed to let go of the "stuff." I became aware that my life couldnt take one more thing to be added to that pile of junk and by doing that it allowed Him to bring in the big guns and haul all that junk away. Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Do you have a little bit of the hoarder personality in you somewhere?? Do you have so much junk in your life or heart that its hard to see past the clutter?? If so the Lord can do some major cleaning in your heart and life if you just allow Him to take over and rid your life of the mess. There's a song that says "Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another." Let this song be the cry of your heart and allow the Lord to make you pure and clean before Him so that He can do some extraordinary things in your life. By removing the mess it allows God to work and move in ways that we can't even imagine.

Monday, August 22, 2011

If I had.....

There's a cute childrens song that says "If i had a little white box to put my Jesus in....I'd take Him out and smooch smooch smooch and share Him with my friends." We hear this song around our house often but I was thinking about that song and how much it means, but because of the child like twist of it we fail to recognize the words for what they are worth. How many times do we put Jesus in a little box?? We take Him out when its conveinent for us and share Him with others when we feel comfortable.

Something I am learning is how much I have put Him in a box, failing to recognize His power and how big He truely is. We often think our problems in life are either too big or to small for God to care about so we tuck Him away in a shiney little box. We go to church and put on this facade that everything is ok, we become plastic people and make the world think that we have it all together all the time. How many people around you look like they have it all together?? The perfect marriage, the perfect job, the perfect kids, a nice house, nice cars a life that we all long for. I bet underneath all that though are broken people. People with messy messy lives that nobody else can see. I'm not saying we have to stand in church on Sunday and project all of lifes hurts and struggles on the overhead screen but how many of us are fake and we use God when He is convenient and when it looks good. I am guilty of this and its something that lately I have had to just plain get over!!!!

I believe we all come to an earth shattering storm in our lives where things that we thought were important begin to be stripped away and all those things that we thought made up who we are begin to one by one be taken away until it leave us naked and real before the Lord. We begin to get real with ourselves and others and realize it wasnt those "things" that made up who we are but the very hurts and battles we have been through that really define us. We are all put on the frotlines of a battlefield in life every single day, we are hurt, broken and wounded. I dont know one person on earth that doesnt have scars from life somewhere hidden where nobody can seem them. Maybe you have scars from a hurtful childhood, a failed marriage, a job that didnt work out, rebelious kids, a past addiction, a broken friendship whatever it is it hurts. We try to cover up those past hurts before others and the Lord because we are so afraid "if they only knew" then we wouldnt be loved or accepted. I have learned that times where I laid myself before the Lord bearing my ugly scars is when He has used me and allowed my hurts to be used for something amazing in the life of another.

Before I became a christian 9 years ago one of the things that turned me off the most about God was that it always seemed like Christians had it all together. At that time I was 18 and had alot of things going on that made me so unqualified to "fit" into that life so I thought. I looked at it as there is no way I will ever fit in, I'm a mess and those people have it all together just look at them. I was so wrong and it took a while for me to figure this out and really its something I am still trying to understand. It wasnt that all those people had it all together it was just that they all looked like it. I started learning quickly that to God its not us having it all together, its not about us becoming unmessy first but its about allowing God to be present in the midst of our messyness. Its about allowing God to tear down that facade and allowing us to be broken, hurt and messy before Him so that He can clean us up, rid us of all the messyness and trade our ashes for beauty. 1 Samuel 12:22 NIV "For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own." He doesnt reject us regardless of what we have done but instead He picks us up and loves on us because He has made us perfectly. We are human and we all make mistakes....let me tell you I have made some whoppers lately but we have to realize we all mess up, not just some but all. None of us are perfect, none of us have it all together and if there is someone that thinks they do or that they havent screwed up royally then they are lying and probably need to evaluate their own lives.

We had a saturday night service at our church a few years back and it was called Mosaic. I have always loved this from the moment I heard about it. It represents how broken we all are, none of us are perfect we all have rough edges and things that have happened in our lives that have altered who we are. But God can take all those pieces of brokeness and put them together to make something so beautiful. In order for this to happen though I think we have to come to a place where we stop trying to put God in a little tiny box. We need to start realizing that He is so much bigger than we can imagine. Luke 12:7 "Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered." Psalm 139:13 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful." Wow how big is our God truely, He has numbered each and every hair on our head but yet we put Him in a box and think He isnt big enough for whatever we are facing. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV " Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Its time to get real...regardless of where you have been or what you have been through God cares. He has numbered the hairs on your head and cares about every little aspect of your being. The world will fail us time and time again but God will never. Take off that veil and allow your brokeness to be placed before the Lord and ask Him to heal those parts that need healing and to use your scars for whatever will bring glory and honor to Him. Allow God to be present in whatever you are facing regardless of how big or little you may think it is He cares and He wants to stand alongside you and help guide you through the hurt. He wants to pick you up in those times when you dont think you can take one more step and be holding signs from the cheering section rooting you on when things are going great. We had a service at church last winter in which people shared cardboard testimonies of how God had delivered them from battles that some of us can't even imagine. Standing on that stage they all looked like they had it together, they were at a place where God was using them but when they flipped over that piece of cardboard we all stood amazed at what they had been through. They are people who we see walking around everyday like you and I but that have been delivered by God's grace and set free from hurts that tell a beautiful story. People that are the most kind, God sharing people you would ever meet but that have had real hurts, and struggles in their lives. God does not pick or choose who's story to put on the bestseller list but He uses them all. What does God want to do with your story???

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stinkin Thinkin......

A friend of mine from church gave me a book to borrow and it just feels so perfect. Have you ever started reading a book and after the first two sentences you were instantly hooked, you felt as if the author wrote that book specifically for you?? This was one of those moments for me. The book is about our thinking and how quickly we can allow negative thoughts to take over and brings us down. A friend of mine also refers to this as "stinkin thinkin" we get in this mode where one negative thought leads to another and eventually we are in a dark place of lies and negativity.

In the darkness satan loves to meet up with us and make us believe those lies and anything that will seperate us from Christ. I must admit i could probably earn a degree in this area in my own life and i wonder how many of you feel the same way. Maybe something will happen throughout my day that isnt good and the next think i know everything around me is bad...i get into this mode of "stinkin thinkin" where its like a snowball effect once one things goes wrong i throw in the towel and allow my mind and my spirit to just take on the idea that everything will go wrong that day and everything stinks and blah blah blah. I believe we can also go to that dark place when we think about our past and the hurts we have been through in life. We allow ourselves to be put right back in the midst of that hurt reliving all that tore us apart so that before we know it our past is dictating our present and our future. We allow satan to use where we have been or what we have been through to tell us who we are now instead of leaving the past behind and believing God can restore us and make us who He wants us to be now....satan has no authority in that!!!!!

A friend always says to me "We are who God says we are" this is amazing because i think we often get caught up in that "stink thinkin" and believe the lies around us and take on the character of what everyone else thinks of us or what satan tries to make us believe. In the book the author uses Phillipians 4:8 "Finally brothers whatever things are true meditate on these things" This verse just represents to us how important it is for us to focus on whats true and whats real. We can't control what others think, and we can't control the past all we can do is focus on the here and now and whats true. Nine times out of ten when we get in our "stink thinkin" mode the things we are filling our minds and hearts with that end up bringing us down are usually not true anyways. God challenges us to focus on what is true and what is real.

If your going through a difficult time its understandable to look at the situation and see "it is what it is" but when we allow our circumstance to dictate every thought, attitude and step we take in life we are going to end up on a dead end street, isolated, hurt and deceived by satan. Focus on being real and allowing God to transform your thoughts into something postive, if there is something negative that creeps in take it for what its worth but dont allow it to have presidence over everything in your life because thats satan trying to bring you down instead look at the good in the midst of the bad and the fact that God loves us unconditionally and can be present no matter what we are facing.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Update your status here.....

I think I could spend hours writing about todays topic but I will try to tame the beast within me. Right now I have a love/hate realtionship with none other than Facebook. I wont go into all that mumbo jumbo but but it seems like they are constantly trying to tweak different sections of Facebook in hopes to make it "better."

One thing that I have noticed over the past week though is that at different times on the ride side of the page it will show your status update exactly one year ago. My status last year said "At Riverside going back into surgery for a few minor things but really feeling like things are going to get better." Wow, that is pretty heavy considering what a difficult time it was for us a year ago. In some cases this new feature of showing the past can be good because it can remind you of what God has brought you through and the growth that has taken place in your life over the past year. For us its a constant reminder in this case of how far God has brought us through such a major health crisis and His faithfulness through it all. Its almost as if Facebook is an online journal at times.

The downfall though can be that maybe you don't want to be reminded of the past, maybe the place you were in physical or emotionally a year ago wasnt a postive one. There are situations and things in my life that I have gone through or choices that I have made that seem almost so surreal that there are days where I have to pinch myself to make sure its really my life and those things are really apart of me. I am sure you can all relate and each one of you have had hurts or trials in your life that you would rather keep shoved away in a closed up box deep in your heart. Maybe in some cases you havent fully dealt with the things of the past or in other situations you have but its not something you want to be dangled in front of your face all the time or have pop up in glowing letters out of nowhere on your Facebook page as a reminder.

The amazing thing is that regardless of where you have been, what you have been through, how much you have messed up or how hurt you have been that may have been your lifes headlines a year ago but you can update your status and wear a new headline whenever you want because of the blood of Jesus. I don't deserve for my past to be erased and my failures and hurts to be washed away but thats exactly what choosing Jesus as part of your life means. Don't allow the things of the past keep you in the past, you can let go of wherever or whatever you have been through and allow Him to set a new path before you full of redemption. Romans 3:23-25 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith."

There have been situations that I was dealt that have caused me to be thrown into deep valleys of sorrow and pain and there have been situations that I chose that caused shame and guilt but I know that the Lord has set me free from those circumstances and set me free from my past, I never have to visit it again if I don't want to. The beautiful thing though that I am so passionate about is that in every situation and I mean some of the messiest, deepest pits ever, the Lord has not only helped me climb out but has used those scars for something amazing and has redeemed the worst of all situations in my life.

What would your status say a year ago. Are you in the same rut you were then or have you broken free from whatever was holding you hostage? Are you holding onto the pain of the past and staying captive to whats happened or where you have been, or are you allowing God to turn it into a beautiful story with an amazing update?

I want it now............

Its been one of those head shaking mornings where I feel llike I am constantly battling aginst all odds for little pety stuff. Everything seems like a task and nothing can go smoothly. Just when I officially wanted to pull my hair out, feathers and all, a sense of laughter came over me and I thought to myself "man God sure has a sense of humor."

Macie and I went to the salon this morning so I could get my hair cut and normally I try and leave her with daddy so I can get a few minutes of peace and quiet and have a little girl time with my girl Heather but because Scott has meetings this week I had to take her with me. It wasnt a big deal since it was just a cut so it was quick but then in the middle of the salon, which Heather can testify too, Macie has a meltdown because I wont let her get a feather but only a gem in her hair. Now I probably should have put on my fighting gear and left with her not getting anything if she wanted to act like that, but honestly I didnt have the energy. I am sure if you have ever been around a little one before you know exactly what I mean. Needless to say she left with 3 pink gems in her hair and the score is now Macie 1 and Mommy 0.

Once we got in the van I gave her a little talking to and tried to sweep it under the rug so we could have a good rest of the day. Now Scott and I decided to not eat out for a month but since it was Macs and I's last girls day before school starts next week I decided to go through Wendys and grab something small for lunch. Because Macie has a sweet tooth like her daddy of course she was begging for a chocolate Frosty. I agreed but told her as we were pulling out of the drive through to hold onto the cup but don't open it and wait until we got home, in just a few minutes.

Not even half mile down the road I hear blood curdling screams from the backseat and what do I see but my 5 year old covered in chocloate Frosty all while claiming "I'm so sorry I just couldn't wait." I think in that moment instant smoke started pouring out of my ears and it took everything in me not to have a meltdown also. But that was the moment where I thought "ok God I get it, I understand what your trying to say." So i continued on explaining to Macie that when we aren't patient in life then we loose the blessing or treat that was sitting there waiting for us all because our lack of obedience. I know there have been times in my life where I felt like God was revealing something to me but He was also saying, just give it a little more time and I promise I am going to bless you in a way you can't even imagine. In moments where I followed those commands it was truely amazing what doors He opened and things that He put in my life because of it. I remember when Scott graduated from MVNU and was trying to get his first teaching job, he applied for a ton and started getting calls for interviews and in the midst of it all I asked him what his first pick would be and he told me. Well the following week he went for an interview a few hours away and thought it went really well but was crushed when he wasn't offered the job. We didnt understand what God was doing but kept trusting that He had a reason and a plan and don't you know he got a call a few weeks later and was offered a position at the school that was his first choice, oh I have "God bumps" just thinking about it. Thats what the power of Christ can do, He can give us more than we could ever imagine. Isaiah 30:18 "Blessed are all they that wait for him."

But I have to admit because of my humaness I have also had moments where I chose to prematurely act and things may have still worked out but the road was much harder than God intended for it to be. When Macie was clearly disobedient I was crushed because as much as she wanted that yummy chocolate Frosty I wanted in my heart for her to be able to enjoy it because when we give our kids things that make them happy it makes us happy. I imagine God feels like this with us, He does all that He can to make our dreams come true and tries to orchestrate the perfect plans so it will be revealed to us but then we choose to take control away and do it on our own we miss out and He is devestated because He can't give us so much more than what we have chosen because of our disobedience.

Maybe your struggling with a difficult decision right now in a job, a relationship, a purchase and your just unsure. I just encourage you to submit it to the Lord and ask for His direction and clarity in whatever it is and when He gives you an answer listen. It may mean you can't buy that new car right now, or switch jobs this month but I guarantee by your submission and obedience He will put a deal in your lap for the perfect car that will blow your mind, or offer you a job way more than you could have imagined. I can assure you one thing, Macie will never open the Frosty cup in the car again, hmmm Mommy 1, Macie 1 :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stick Together.........
Wow what a powerful video!!! A few months ago I was reading a few different sections from the book "Get out of that Pit" by Beth Moore and one of the phrases really stood out at me."While you wait for God to work and manifest your sure deliverance, you wrap yourself around Him as tightly as you possibly can. Ask Him to make you more God-aware than you have ever been in your life. Bind yourself to Him with everything you've got so that you will ultimately-inevitably-go anywhere He does. Hang on for dear life and never let go" I love this whole phrase but the section "bind yourself to Him with everything you've got" is the part I love the most. The word bind is the key here. Bind is defined as to become compact or solid, to cause to cohere or stick together, to bandage or hold together wounds.

Think about all the things in this world where we use a binder to take many important things and hold them together. I dont know how many different binders of all colors and sizes I have gone through over the course of my school days. It seemed like in every class I would collect stacks and stacks of papers that the professor would tell us to hold onto because they would be of importance throughout that quarter. I could easily just put them in a folder somewhere but it always made more sense to get a binder so that each paper could be neatly held together and organized for exactly the right moment that I needed. Another example of this that I have learned more about the past few years is baking a cake. When we bake a cake we often use eggs as a binding agent to keep all the ingredients together. If we leave out the egg or any of the other ingredients then the cake wont be the same, it wont have any structure or form to it. A book is another thing that is bound, each page in a book is important and different but every idea represented on those pages are ultimately bound together as a whole to make up a beautiful story. Something I have been all too familiar with the past few months is what they use in the medical world sometimes and thats an abdominal binder. Although it may sound kind of yucky this illistraution is my favorite. The binder here is important because it holds the wound together in a way to aide in healing. Unlike a bandaide that does nothing more than cover up the wound a binder holds a wound together and supports the wound in such a way to facilitate new tissue growth and healing.

In all these examples you can leave the binder out for sure but will the results be the same??? If we leave the eggs out of the cake it probably wouldnt stay together too well, if we leave the abdominal binder off the healing wound i'm sure it will still heal over time but without being held together in a way that the binder can provide it will take much more time and also risk infection and other problems with the wound without that strong force encompassing that compromised tissue. I wonder how different our lives would be if we lived this basic concept to "bind ourselves with Him." It doesnt say to go alongside Him or in front of Him or behind Him it says "bind ourselves with Him" I think of this as becoming one with Christ. Its not about us walking through life with Jesus beside us but instead its wrapping ourselves so tightly around Him that we can no longer see where we end and He begins, its not about us but about Christ living through us.

If your making a cake and you mix in the eggs to bind the ingredients together there is no possible way you could ever seperate those ingredients again, they are stuck permanently in a way that you no longer have several different ingredients you instead have one bowl of cake batter. They are mixed so tightly together that a whole new identity and purpose is taken on. Think of the amazing things that would take place if we allowed ourselves to become one with the Lord and "bind" ourselves to Him everyday in all situations so that nothing would ever be able to seperate us or get in between us. If we "bind" ourselves to Jesus there is no way satan can slip in and interfere in our lives and what the Lord wants to do in and through us. Take a rope for example, what a simple thing that all of us have used for something or other in our lives. Rope is made up of hundres of strands of fiber that are tightly woven together for a common purpose. Like a rope if we "bind ourselves" with the Lord the tighter the cords are bound together the greater strength is produced. If we allow ourselves to be bound to Christ then inevitably we will never be able to go anywhere that He wont already be and our strength will be multiplied through Him so that whatever we face we will be able to meet it head on with Christ. Isaiah 40:29 (Amplified translation) "He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it to abound."

Life can be so tough but something that I have learned is that when I try to do it alone its far worse. God doesnt want to be dragged alongside us through the battles, He wants to be present right in the very center of them with us. He wants to be united with us in a way that we are never alone and we can embrace His power and strength through us during these times. Phillipians 4:13 (Amplified translation) "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me ,I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency." I pray that I can live like this everyday, not on my own strength but so tightly bound to Christ that He is always with me embracing me and fighting the battles ahead.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On your mark...get set...GO!!!

Now that the temperatures and humidity have decreased greatly its been beautiful outside.A few weeks ago it was so miserable we couldnt even enjoy being out of the house away from the a/c. It seems like kids however, dont notice the heat as much and just love being outdoors and playing. Macie never complains about the heat it seems and would live outside if she could. Growing up I have fond memories of playing outside, summer birthday parties and family reunions during the summer. I am sure you all can relate when I say, Hide and Seek, Red Rover, tag, and Marco Polo.

One of my favorite activities during the summer mostly at family reunions were 3 legged races. How many of you have ever been in a 3 legged race??? Usually you are paired up in similar teams or an adult/child team. Watching a 3 legged race you would think it seeems easy but when you actually put yourself in the competition you quickly find its harder than it looks. Most of the time before the race is over the stronger person of the pair is carrying the other person across the finish line in exhaustion. Let me explain how 3 legged races work for those who need a refresher, what happens is two participants attempt to complete a short sprint with the left leg of one runner strapped to the right leg of another runner. The object is for the partners to run together without falling over, and beat the other contestants to the finish line. Sounds simple right??? Well the tricky part comes in when one persons weak leg is tied to the other persons strong leg.

I think we live our lives each day in the midst of a giant 3 legged race. We represent the weak leg and side of the team and God represents the strong side and we are held together by the love Christ has for us. A love so strong that regardless of how long or tough the race is the pressure will never allow us to break free from the ties between us. We may stumble along the race to the finish line but we will not fall over because God our teamate will always be there to lift us back to our feet. There may even be times where exhaustion overtakes us and instead of hobbling along God will pick us up and carry us across to the end of our journey.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (AMP) "Let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds."

The journey may be tough but can you imagine for a second running the race of a lifetime when something comes along on your path as a distraction and you are so tired and weak that all you want to do is give up and throw in the towel when like a parent does to a child, God reaches down, picks us up and wraps His arms tightly around us as He continues on with the race with giant strides, carrying the weight of our weaknesses to the finish.

Whatever burdens you are carrying as you run the race each day know that Christ is right beside you fighting the battle with you. When you have no strength left you can call upon His name and He will help you to the finish or pick you up and carry you when you dont have one ounce of strength left on your own. Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Detour Ahead.......

So I was driving down 23 yesterday and most of you know no matter what direction you travel north or south on 23 there is construction. I was feeling very impatient and frustrated with the traffic because of the construction and the fact that i was stuck behind a semi. I had somewhere to go and I didnt want anything getting in my way. I was convinced at that moment those ugly orange barrels and a very slow semi were in fact ruining "my plans." I mean sure in the end i'm sure whatever they were trying to accomplish would make things easier for travelers but for now it was just an annoyance i didnt have time for.
I kept thinking about that and how much it represents our lives. We all have this ideal journey we want to travel on. The perfect marriage, the perfect friendships, the perfect so on but when is life ever that perfect??? If it were would we really appreciate the blessings in front of our eyes??? If everything in life was easy would we ever appreciate the journey. So we often find ourselves traveling through life on the path that we think is the best. But often i think God uses those construction sites and roadblocks to teach us something. I think we get so caught up in doing things our way that we often breeze through life forgetting the things that really matter.

After awhile God decides "she just isnt getting it" so he puts a little construction in our paths to make us slow down and reevaluate where we are going. He uses those ugyly orange barrels to dirrect us and those slow semi's to teach us patience. Even in consturction there are always distractions....bumps, road signs, and changing speed limits but God often puts people and things in our path to help guide us. Those consturction workers are out there for a reason they help us along our journey to know whats stop when we should or slow down when we need to be alert to whats ahead. Everyone hates detours because its and inconvienence and it takes us out of "our way" the way that we had set we needed to follow. But it always seems to me that on those detour routes we end up seeing or experiencing something we woudlnt have otherwise. 1 Corinthians 2:9 "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind can imagine the plans that God has for those who love Him."

How many times have you felt like God was taking you on a detour in life??? I know i have, especially lately. But I have found in the midst of the chaos and construction going on that God has a plan and a purpose to open my eyes and take in new sights and experiences around me that if I was traveling "my way" i wouldnt ever get to experience. Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Next time you are faced with construction, or a detour in life ask yourself what is God trying to show me....what have I been too hurried up to see this whole time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Analysis

Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Analysis: "The Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts Inventory is a discovery tool that provides you with a personalized analysis. Not a test, but a simple questionnaire giving you a profile of your God given spiritual gifts."

Removing the mess....

So scott and I were at my grandmas house doing some painting awhile back and on one of the walls there was a huge decal/sticker of two horses. Without the decal the wall would have a completely different look and identity. In order for us to paint the wall and give it that new shiney look however, first we had to remove that old horse decal. When I first started pulling it off it was so hard. It was really stuck on there good and who knows how long it had been there. Regardless of what section I tried removing or what technique I used it just didnt want to come off other than in small little pieces.

Eventually what was once a picture of two horses was now just a mess, the picture was unrecognizable and no matter how much paint we tried to use to cover it up you would still be able to see it and know that something was there....something was left from the past that never fully was removed. I started thinking about how much our lives represent that wall. Sometimes we put beautiful decals on our walls and sometimes we end up with ugly messes. Those decals dont define who we are totally, just like that one decal of two horses didnt make up the entire room however they did represent some of what those walls mean and what our lives mean.

After I had been tediously working to try and remove the decal from the wall I discovered if I put a little water on the messy spot first then it was much easier to peel it off and you couldnt even tell it was there. At one point I put a ton of water on a spot and started peeling it away and a huge piece came off for me this was an awesome moment because it felt good tearing away a huge ugly piece and seeing something so beautiful and new underneath. There are things in my life, decals I have placed on my wall that I wish I could just rip down. I wish I didnt have to look at the uglyness and be reminded of what things I have allowed to be put on my wall and to make up my identity.

I'm sure you all have decals on your walls also that just doesnt fit, it messes up our walls and it changes the looks of our lives but like that little bit of water God can help strip those ugly patches away and make whats underneath beautiful and new. That doesnt mean it will be easy or fast because it definitely took me awhile and alot of scrubbing to get those decals off the wall but the end result was so worth it. Who knows how long those decals had been on those walls or how long we have let those decals remain on the walls of our hearts but God is so much bigger than time and depth. Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)

I am ready to allow Him to start striping those decals off my heart so I can start over and get back my true identity in Christ. We dont have to let those ugly reminders label who we are or what our lives represent but instead we can allow God to strip away the uglyness and make us new and shiney. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. (Isaiah 38:17b)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Surrendering to the butterflies and "God bumps"..........

I am very much a person that likes to be in control pretty much most of the time. I have talked about that before and how much chaos really makes me squirm. There are only a few moments in life where I totally feel out of control but I'm ok with that and I do mean FEW.

The first moment is when you feel like the Holy Spirit has just invaded every ounce of your being until you have "God bumps" everywhere that hurt and make you chill by the awesomeness of His presence. Ahhh the thought of those moments make me giddy and excited. The second however is when you are getting ready for something, maybe leading worship, delivering a sermon or teaching a Sunday School class and that overwhelming sense of butterflies and nervousness creep in and throw you into panic mode to where your stomach starts rumbling, your palms start sweating and you just feel sick. Now that so much doesnt make me giddy nor excited :)

Although both situations are 99.9% out of our control and from the outside the "God bumps" sound comforting and joyous and the butterflies and nervousness sound uncomfortable but I think they are both good and necessary. There was a song that I heard for the first time this weekend which I shared in yesterdays post called "Mercys Seat," and I bet you I listened to that song 25 times on youtube last night. But it seemed to me regardless of if it was the first time or the 25th time I couldnt make it through the entire song without my arm hairs standing on end and feeling chilled to the bone because of the intense and overwhelming power the Holy Spirit had used by those words to speak directly to my heart and soul. You know that same feeling you get when something you have worked so hard for or prayed about for some time fits perfectly together and an a wave of peace floods through your entire body because you know it was a "God moment."

Now I know being nervous doesnt feel quite as comforting and peaceful but I believe its just as important as the ah ha, "God bumps." I asked my husband tonight who plays guitar for our praise band on Sunday mornings if he still gets nervous walking up on stage every week and his reply was "yes." Now those of you who know my husband know that this is pretty shocking because he doesnt get embarassed or shy about anything! So we started talking about it and both agreed that we feel if you somehow loose the nervousness along the way then your focus is no longer on letting go and letting God but merely depending on your own strength and abilities. I believe this to be true with our Pastors also and know they feel a sense of anxiousness each week taking the pulpit because of the expectation that the message is delivered perfectly. God has designed each of us the way He saw fit and predestined us for certain spiritual gifts and talents and knows exactly how to mold those abilities to be used for His glory but regardless of how well we sing, play an instrument, memorize the scriptures, teach, calculate numbers, organize a business, cook, serve on a mission trip, lead a bible study or whatever purpose He has formed you for our human abilities only take us so far and then there comes a point where we have to let go of our humanness and let God intervene by the Holy Spirit on our behalf to complete the fulness of that purpose. Acts 1:8 (AMP) "But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses."

As we are walking onto stage each week its good to be a little nervous so in the midst of that moment we can fully surrender our abilities and agenda to the Lord and redirect the focus not on us but on the Lord. Scott and I have been married for almost 7 years and there are moments that he still gives me the butterflies. In those moments I feel blessed because after all he knows so about me, every flaw, every messy habit, every imperfection and strength he can still love me in a way that is overwhelming and catches me off guard. Thats what it means to be so in love with Jesus that we absolutely adore Him and regardless of whether we have known Him intimately for 50 years or 5 days, He still inspite of our flaws, imperfections, messiness, strengths and abilities can catch us off guard and give us those ah ha "God bumps," or intervene on our behalf and calm our butterflies as He washes away our humanness and seeps out of us so that we are no longer seen but He is seen through us in a way that is glorifying and pleasing to Him. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (AMP) "With this in view we constantly pray for you, that our God may deem and count you worthy of [your] calling and [His] every gracious purpose of goodness, and with power may complete in [your] every particular work of faith (faith which is that leaning of the whole human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness). Thus may the name of our Lord Jesus Christ be glorified and become more glorious through and in you, and may you [also be glorified] in Him according to the grace (favor and blessing) of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)."

Whatever is ahead this week, whatever tasks you have written on your to do list, whatever strengths and gifts the Lord is using in your life, know that its ok to have moments of inadequacy and weakness because this allows for the Lord to step in and take over so He can use our gifts with a greater purpose because of a God driven power!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm Runnin to the Mercy Seat, NO-thing will have power over me!!!!

There is NO-thing.....

A group of ladies from our church went to a Beth Moore conference this weekend. Its one of those conferences where you leave feeling so filled up and overwhelmed by what the Holy Spirit has done in and through you its as if your on information overload. I think it will take days and a lifttime to process all that was poured into our hearts and souls. I feel such a burst of joy and excitment about what the Lord showed us but know its only a mere glimpse into the power beyond those short couple hour sessions.

One thing that really impacted my heart though was between the worship and the speaking by Beth they showed different scripture verses on the screen and as I stared at one particular slide the words "There is nothing," hit me square between the eyes. I thought to myself there is so much depth and power behind such a simple phrase that we throw around so often. I started thinking about this and couldnt help but instantly start jotting down notes in my conference book about what it truely means to have "nothing." If you look up the word "nothing" its amazing, it means to truely have NO-thing, NO value, NO portion, NO part, NO existence, isignificant, worthless. Because of the blood of Jesus we have been set free so that NOT one thing, NO portion, NO part of the pain and suffering of this world will have power or significance of over us if we choose to allow Jesus to set us free and put His hedge of protection around us, every moment of every hour of every day. By Gods protection we can stand firm against Satan so that he will have NO-thing over us. We are the Lords and He has bought us with a price, NOTHING else has rights over our lives but the plans that Jesus has for us!

Isaiah 43:1-2 "But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do NOT fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will NOT sweep over you.When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will NOT set you ablaze." NO-thing from your past, NO-thing in the present, NO-thing in the future will throw you into bondage or have power over your life. NO relationship, NO mistake, NO addiction, NO hurt, NO deception, NO emotion, NO physical afliction, NO circumstance, NO trial, NO wound will ever hold you from Jesus but He will break the shakles entangling you from them and set you free!

My friend Teresa paraphrased a verse that I love and is filled with such power, "There is NO condemnation for me as I walk in and follow the commans of the Spirit. Jesus has FREED me from death. I now have the Spirit of adoption, NOT BONDAGE. I do NOT have to be a slave to fear, I am His!!!!!! Romans 8:1,2,13, 15-17. With Jesus we have NOTHING so that He can give us EVERYTHING. When we let go of the things causing space between us and God He has room to fill in the gaps of our hearts. Allow NOTHING to to overtake you but the Spirit of Jesus.

Friday, August 12, 2011

On a walk......

I was out running a few errands this morning and saw a handful at least of people out for a morning walk. The weather right now is beautiful and especially in the morning when the temperatures are lower so driving around in our neighborhood you see many people out walking. Most of the time you can see earphones hanging from their ears and an ipod or mp3 player clipped at their waist and they are focused on whats ahead and the path they are on. However there was one lady today that caught my attention. She had her earphones on listening to music it appeared but as she was walking whenever there happened to be a piece of trash or something on the ground she would stop and pick it up. She even stopped at the car wash I was at and picked the vacum hose off the ground and wrapped it back up.

Now I am sure there had been others who have passed the same spot but instead of stopping to pick it up like this woman they continued on their journey focused on what they were doing. This lady could have only worried about the path ahead of her and gone on her way but instead she stopped and contributed to something good by picking up trash along the way. There were fast food restaurants, an ice cream shop and a liquor store along the way and she could have easily choosen to be distracted by a big juicy hamburger or hot fudge sundae but instead she kept going. Each day we are asked to walk with Jesus and follow a path that will help shape and mold us more into His image. There are always going to be distractions along the way and sometimes they will be positive things like picking up trash that can help contribute to others around us and build our characters or they can be negative things like that juicy hamburger that can cause us to stumble and loose sight of where we are going and the path we are on. The postive ways that we contribute in life will help us to move forward and go where God wants to take us but the negative distractions will cause us to take a detour and miss out on the things God has planned.

Our race should not be about the speed we run, but about the consistency of our running. We will still occasionally stumble or slow our journey, but we should always remain focused on moving steadily forward. - Michael Youssef. You dont have to be a Pastor or a Missionary to serve and contribute along the way just doing something simple like holding the door for someone at the grocery store, mowing the lawn of the elderly lady down the street, offering a meal to a family struggling, sending a card of encouragement to someone going through a health crisis, there are so many things that we can do that may seem insignificant or no big deal but can be huge to someone else. This is what is means to show Christ through our actions and truely be the hands and feet of Jesus. "Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." ~Saint Teresa of Avila

So what are you going to do along your walk today? Are you going to only look at whats ahead and focus on your agenda, be distracted by negativity and allow it to hinder your relationship with Christ, or are you going to step out in faith and do something positive to shine for Him. Matthew 20:28 "For even I the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to offer my life as a ransom for many."